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Aluminum prices surge to highest level since 2011 as US sanctions on Russia take out big producer

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A worker loads a liquid electrolyte into the electrolysis bath at the Krasnoyarsk aluminum smelter, operated by United Co. Rusal, in Krasnoyarsk, Russia.

Andrey Rudakov | Bloomberg | Getty Images 

A worker loads a liquid electrolyte into the electrolysis bath at the Krasnoyarsk aluminum smelter, operated by United Co. Rusal, in Krasnoyarsk, Russia.

Aluminum prices surged to their highest level in six years on Monday, extending a recent rally that follows the U.S. sanctioning of Russian aluminum giant Rusal.

The metal traded as high as $2,403 per ton on the London Metal Exchange, before holding more than 4 percent higher at 2,379.

On April 6, the U.S. slapped sanctions on several Russian oligarchs, officials, businesses and agencies, including Rusal. The sanctions freeze all of Rusal’s assets that are under U.S. jurisdiction.

Rusal — which saw its stock hit a record low on Monday — is one of the largest aluminum producers in the world. The company’s collapse has the potential to take a large chunk of aluminum supply from the market. In fact, Rio Tinto — one of the largest mining companies in the world — said Friday it would declare force majeure on some of its contracts with Rusal.

“The main thing that has been a catalyst behind aluminium has been the issues around the sanctions against Rusal which will make the market tighter,” ETF Securities analyst Nitesh Shah told Reuters. “In addition to that is the weaker dollar and the general upside for industrial metals in recent days that is working in aluminium’s favor.”

Aluminum’s surge comes more than a month after President Donald Trump slapped a 10 percent tariff on aluminum imports to the U.S.

Trump bragged the tariffs were not having a negative effect on the U.S. economy.

He said in an April 6 tweet: “Despite the Aluminum Tariffs, Aluminum prices are DOWN 4%. People are surprised, I’m not! Lots of money coming into U.S. coffers and Jobs, Jobs, Jobs!”

Aluminum prices were down for the year when Trump sent his tweet. However, prices have skyrocketed more than 20 percent since the U.S. unveiled sanctions against Russia.

The Washington Post reported, citing people familiar with the matter, that Trump walked back a comment made by U.S. ambassador Nikki Haley about additional sanctions being implemented, noting he was not yet comfortable taking that course of action. Haley said Sunday new sanctions on Russian entities would be announced Monday.



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These stocks historically jump the most during the first earnings season of the year

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There are certain stocks that historically post big gains after reporting fourth-quarter earnings.

Bespoke looked back at the past eight fourth-quarter reporting periods and found stocks that jumped the most on earnings reporting day. It found 15 large caps that rose an average 3.8 percent or more.

Several stocks on the list also had bullish charts, on a technical basis, though many had negative or bearish charts, according to Bespoke. Those that looked bullish were D.R. Horton, Salesforce.com, Broadcom, Hologic and Intuitive Surgical.

Source: Bespoke



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Billionaire Ken Griffin buys the most expensive home ever sold in the US

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Kenneth Griffin, founder and chief executive officer of Citadel LLC

David Paul Morris | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Kenneth Griffin, founder and chief executive officer of Citadel LLC

Hedge fund billionaire Ken Griffin closed a deal to buy the most expensive home ever sold in the U.S., paying around $238 million for a New York penthouse overlooking Central Park.

The deal is the largest in Griffin’s recent $700 million, global real estate shopping spree, believed to be the largest ever for a U.S. billionaire. Over the past few years, the founder and CEO of Citadel has purchased the most expensive homes in Chicago, Miami and New York. He has spent more than $200 million to buy land in Palm Beach, Florida for a home he plans to build there. And this week, news broke that he purchased a $122 million property in London, which was the most expensive sale in London in a decade.

A spokeswoman for Citadel couldn’t immediately be reached for comment.

The New York purchase, first reported by CNBC in 2015 when it went into contract, covers several floors of the new 79-story condo tower known as 220 Central Park South. The apartment covers four full floors and is around 24,000 square feet with stunning views of Central Park, according to real estate experts. Griffin bought the space raw, which means that even after paying $238 million, Griffin will likely spend millions more to design, build and furnish the home.

The deal eclipses the current record for the most expensive home sold in the U.S. — the $147 million paid by hedge fund manager Barry Rosenstein for an estate in East Hampton, New York in 2014.

With new condo towers, like 220 Central Park South, buyers sign a contract while the building is under construction, and officially close on the deal when the building is finished.



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Jamie Dimon predicted bitcoin’s nosedive, but isn’t celebrating it

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Jamie Dimon, CEO of JP Morgan Chase, speaking at the 2019 WEF in Davos, Switzerland on Jan. 23rd, 2019.

Adam Galica | CNBC

Jamie Dimon, CEO of JP Morgan Chase, speaking at the 2019 WEF in Davos, Switzerland on Jan. 23rd, 2019.

The bitcoin price bubble has burst but JP Morgan Chase‘s Jamie Dimon isn’t taking a victory lap.

The CEO was among the first and loudest on Wall Street to warn against the cryptocurrency, calling it a “fraud” and warning investors that if they were “stupid enough to buy it” they would “pay the price one day.”

When asked if he took any satisfaction in being right after bitcoin dropped 80 percent, Dimon told CNBC at the World Economic Forum in Davos he “didn’t take any.”

Still, Dimon is advocating for its underlying technology, blockchain. Despite its own level of corporate hype, he said it’s not the perfect fit to disrupt things like equity trades. It’s a better replacement for certain online databases, he said.

“Blockchain is a real technology — it’s just a database we can all access that’s kept up-to-date,” Dimon told CNBC’s Squawk Box.

J.P. Morgan is using the technology, which gets rid of the need for a third party intermediary by creating a permanent, open record of all transactions on a network. Buyers and sellers can interact directly and have their exchange recorded on a what’s known as a “distributed,” or blockchain ledger.

In October 2017, J.P. Morgan Chase announced a blockchain-based system that will “significantly reduce” the number of parties needed to verify global payments, reducing transaction times “from weeks to hours.” Royal Bank of Canada and Australia and New Zealand Banking Group are among the bank’s partners in the project.

Corporate giants Amazon, Facebook, and IBM are among the many others exploring blockchain use cases.

Bitcoin meanwhile has failed to stage a recovery. Since its peak in December 2017, the cryptocurrency has fallen 82 percent, according to data from CoinDesk. It has dropped roughly 75 percent over one year, and was trading near $3,570 on Wednesday.



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